Carden Alvar Nature Board by Bob BowlesLoons to Bobolinks

Yesterday Ian Cannell and I birded a few of the roads at the Carden Alvar and just south and west of Kirkfield and though it is late in or past the nesting season for most birds we did find some nice birds. If you bird the area now you will notice a large increase in some of the Sparrows as the juveniles have joined the adults and you will notice that though there are lots of birds there is very little singing now so you have to rely more on your eyes than your ears.

In the morning Wylie Road in particular, south of the Sedge Wren Marsh had many Sparrows on the road and at puddles. The area north of Kirkfield seems to have had a lot more rain than the GTA area lately.

Though it became hot and humid it was a beautiful day up there and a couple bonuses were the cooling breeze and the fact that I only saw one Mosquito, poor Ian missed it.

Following are some of the 80 species we found and some totals. Totals are what I counted and as usual some birds were under counted.

Common Loon, Least Bittern (Canal Lake Marsh), Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Osprey (8), N. Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, Virginia Rail (6), Sora, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Snipe (11), Caspian Tern, Black-billed Cuckoo, Alder Flycatcher (6), Willow Flycatcher, E. Kingbird (82), E. Phoebe (8), Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow (50+), (most along Wylie Road in a couple of flocks), A. Crow, (42), Common Raven, Red-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Sedge Wren, E. Bluebird (8), Swainson’s Thrush, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher (14), Loggerhead Shrike (3), (on Wylie Road west of Bluebird Box 10 – 2 adults and a begging fledgling being fed), Philadelphia Vireo, Chestnut-sided, Yellow-rumped and Black-and-white Warblers, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat (6), Rose-breasted Grosbeak, E. Towhee, Chipping Sparrow (16), Field Sparrow (6), Vesper Sparrow (5), Savannah Sparrow (33), Song Sparrow (78), Grasshopper Sparrow (5), Bobolink (75+) (already in winter plumage in 2 large and 1 small flock – all along Wylie Road), Purple Finch and good numbers of N. Flickers, A. Robins, E. Meadowlarks and A. Goldfinch.

Also seen were Deer, Coyote, Beaver, Raccoon, Muskrat, Varying Hare, Leopard and Green Frogs, tiny (1/2 inch) A. Toads and Painted Turtles.

9 of the Wilson’s Snipes and all of the Solitary Sandpipers, Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, the Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper as well as an adult Virginia Rail with 4 small chicks were well seen at the shallow ponds at the intersection of Eldon Station Road and Sandringham Road (just southwest of Kirkfield).
I do recommend that if you visit these ponds that you stay in your vehicle or park well back as the birds are all within 10 to 50 feet of the road and I believe they would flush very easily. Be sure to park well off the paved part of the road.

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